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Texas A&M, Tulane First To Use New 'Voice in the Cloud' Managed Services

Texas A&M and Tulane University will be among the first universities to adopt the "Voice in the Cloud" managed service being offered by the educational communications networking consortium Internet2 in collaboration with telecommunications vendors Aastra and Level 3 Communications.

The Internet 2 "Voice in the Cloud" SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) service is a hosted VoIP PBX and SIP trunking shared service that the collaborating companies say combines networking elements from Aastra and Level 3 Communications to the Internet2 infrastructure to allow member educational institutions to get carrier-grade voice service at cost effective prices and "eliminate the need for millions of dollars in capital expense to create a private communications network on an institution's campus."

The service is designed with standardized SIP protocols to provide "control and flexibility over the administration of Unified Communications (UC) services like voice and video communication, and empower institutions to customize the solution to meet their unique campus needs," according to the companies.

Aastra is contributing its Clearspan VoIP network platform to the arrangement. Clearspan, the company said, offers "classic PBX-like services" as well as enhancements like unified messaging and fixed-mobile convergence (FMC), interactive voice response (IVR). Level 3 is providing SIP-based long distance trunks, local trunks, and conference bridges to enhance the reliability of the Internet2 offering.

Internet2, a member owned advanced technology community, was founded by higher education institutions to provide a collaborative environment for research and education organizations to solve common technology challenges and develop solutions to support educational, research, and community service activities.

The new collaborative effort with Aastra and Level 3 is designed to allow Internet2 members to "migrate their campus voice services to these hosted services (and) maintain local control, reduce upfront investment and provide a platform for advancement in personal communications," said Rob Vietzke, vice president of network services at Internet2.

About the Author

Jim Barthold is a freelance technology reporter. He can be reached at jimbarthold@comcast.net.

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